By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – The match between the Exeter Monarchs (1-1) and the Woodlake Tigers (0-2) on the courts last Friday, Aug. 18, came down to the last volley, as all good rivalries should. In the end, the Monarchs emerged victorious over the Tigers 5-4.
“It was really quite awesome for our team to get our first win of the season and get that boost,” said Exeter girl’s tennis coach Donna Good.
With Exeter and Woodlake already splitting the other two doubles matches to remain tied at 4-4, the entire game came down to the match between Exeter’s Osiris Zepeda-Castro and Evelyn Ortega against Woodlake’s Briana Guerra and Kiara Benavides.
Late in the match, with Exeter leading 6-5, is when the deciding point came. Exeter served what became a 10-shot rally that Woodlake could have won with three drop shot volleys at the net by Guerra.
But each time Castro ran down the volleys, got decent contact with her forehand, and sent the ball down the right line. Benavides was there, but she was too close to the ball and had to hit it off her back foot. That caused the ball to go into the net, giving Exeter a 30-0 lead in the set.
“That was the turning point. If we had won that point, then it was a step closer,” said Castro.
Exeter had to fend off the Tigers in deuce to go up 7-5 in the set points, and won the match two sets later 8-6.
“We were trying so hard. And to actually succeed—it felt amazing,” said Castro.
Playing in pressure-packed moments is something that Castro had become accustomed to by winning her singles match over Guerra 8-6.
Woodlake’s top player, Katie Pfaff, was the most dominate player on all the courts. In her singles match, she defeated Exeter’s Natalie Salazar 8-0.
“I felt like I played pretty well,” said Pfaff. “I’m still a little bit rusty since this is only our second match. But, so far, it’s been good.”